Unlike recent years gone by, the conservative minority in the US House of Representatives has recently been able to turn their party’s RINO leadership on its collective head.
Just a few days ago, it looked like the establishment’s choice, Steve Scalise, was on his way to filling the open Speakership seat recently vacated by Representative Kevin McCarthy. The Louisiana representative and current House Majority Leader won the nomination vote 113-99, defeating the Trump-endorsed and Freedom Caucus member Jim Jordan.
“He will be a GREAT Speaker of the House, & has my Complete and Total Endorsement!” Former President Trump wrote in a post to his social media site, Truth Social, that praised Jordan’s political record as well as his college wrestling achievements.
All Scalise had left to do was win over enough of the Republicans to give him a simple House majority.
On Thursday morning, however, at least 10 Republican congressmen confirmed they would not back “Status Quo” Scalise on the floor for a vote where he could only afford four dissidents.
In light of the resistance, Scalise announced Thursday evening that he was withdrawing his bid to become the speaker of the House.
“I just shared with my colleagues that I’m withdrawing my name as a candidate for speaker designee,” Scalise told reporters.
Scalise is expected to remain Majority Leader, although who will seek the Speaker’s gavel is not clear. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), currently Speaker Pro Tem, has been encouraged by some of his colleagues to seek the position permanently.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) finished second to Scalise during Wednesday’s ballot and still possesses a strong bloc of support. He may begin as the favorite.
Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), currently the Republican whip, is reported to be preparing a candidacy as well.
BREAKING: Tom Emmer, Scalise's whip, is now quietly attempting to undermine Scalise and launch a shadow bid for Speaker, telling members 'Scalise is done' and 'he's the next man up,' per Hill staffer
— Jack Poso ???????? (@JackPosobiec) October 12, 2023
Transcript of Scalise’s withdrawal:
It’s been quite a journey, and there’s still a long way to go. I just shared with my colleagues that I’m withdrawing my name as a candidate for the speaker designee. If you look at over the last few weeks, if you look at where our conference is, there’s still work to be done. Our conference still has to come together and is not there. There are still some people that have their own agendas.
I was very clear: we have to have everybody put their agendas on the side and focus on what this country needs. This country is counting on us to come back together. This House of Representatives needs a speaker, and we need to open up the House again. But clearly, not everybody is there, and there’s still schisms that have to get resolved.
I never came here for a title. I’ve had some great titles. I’m the Majority Leader of the House and I love the job I have. I’ve had big challenges in my life. I’ve been tested in ways that really put perspective on life, really. The 2017 shooting, when I didn’t know if I was going to make it out alive, taught me what’s important in life, and that’s my family, my faith, and I’m blessed beyond belief. I have absolutely all the right perspective, and I still have a deep, deep passion for making sure we get our country back on track and get our conference fixed again.
But there are some folks that really need to look in the mirror over the next couple of days and decide, are we going to get it back on track? Are they going to try to pursue their own agenda? You can’t do both. And I think we’re going to get there. I was very clear in that room that ultimately we have to come together for the country.
But I never came here for titles, and it’s much bigger than me, and it’s much bigger than anybody else, and nobody’s going to use me as an excuse to hold back our ability to get the House opened again. We still need to get a speaker, and I’m going to continue to push as hard as we can to make that happen as quickly as it has to happen.
But it wasn’t going to happen. Wasn’t going to happen today, wasn’t going to happen tomorrow. It needs to happen soon. But I withdrawn my name and I appreciate the interest you all have had along the way. We still have work to do. We have to get this done, cut no deals with anybody. I’m sure there will be a lot of people that look at it, but it’s got to be people that aren’t doing it for themselves and their own personal interests. And the folks that have their own personal interests in mind shouldn’t be interested in Democrats.